HCL America was offered more incentives by another state, but the information technology services company on Thursday agreed to create 1,237 jobs in Cary largely because of the Triangle’s pool of talented engineers and programmers, state and company officials said.
The company, which already employs 831 people in Wake County, could receive up to $19.6 million from North Carolina if it meets hiring and investment goals over the next five years. HCL also considered sites in Arizona, Texas and New York, which offered the company a package worth $56.9 million, state officials said.
“We usually do not win the incentives game,” said Gov. Pat McCrory, who announced the deal from HCL’s office in Regency Park. “This expansion is another example of (how) North Carolina and the Triangle, in particular, continues to meet the needs of global technology companies.”
HCL plans to invest $9 million expanding its Global Delivery Center in Cary into a four-story, 125,000-square-foot building at another site in Regency Park. State officials said the average annual salaries for the new jobs will be $51,653, above the Wake County average of $49,410.
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California-based HCL America is the U.S. subsidiary of HCL Technologies, a consulting firm in India that employs more than 90,000 people worldwide. About 90 percent of the company’s employees are based in India. HCL generated $5.36 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year, up 14 percent from the previous year.
The company is benefiting from the corporate trend of outsourcing noncore functions. HCL’s services range from help desk and technical support and software development to managing clients’ information technology infrastructure and even designing new products.
“We find the talent here is as good and sometimes better than in Silicon Valley and what we find in other parts of the world,” said Vikram Duvvoori, HCL’s chief technologist and corporate vice president.
HCL has been one of the fastest-growing companies in the Triangle over the past five years. The company has already received the $5 million it was eligible to receive under a state incentives package it was awarded in 2008. The company has created the 513 jobs called for under the grant, and it will be required to retain those jobs in order to receive payments under the new grant.
The company has created an “ecosystem for growth” by building relationships with schools in the area and will likely hire some engineers and programmers who are straight out of college, said Rajiv Sodhi, senior corporate vice president and chief productivity and competitiveness officer.
“If they have a basic engineering education or a computer science background and education, then we can train them in areas that are relevant to the work that we do,” he said. “Almost 30 to 35 percent of our new hires are (recent) graduates.”
HCL’s expansion is the second massive jobs announcement for Cary in the past two years. Last year, New York-based insurer MetLife announced plans to hire about 1,300 employees as part of its plan to build a new campus on Weston Parkway.
Details outlining the incentives package for HCL were posted on Cary’s website in July and then removed after The News & Observer inquired about the information. The earlier report stated that the state’s incentives package would include a $17 million Job Development Investment Grant and a One North Carolina grant worth $123,700.
Cary is known for having highly educated residents, high-performing grade schools and low property tax rates. So the town hasn’t needed to try very hard to attract jobs.
But Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said he considered the $123,700 grant to be a smart use of town funds. The grant is about $1.77 million less than Cary awarded MetLife but will bring nearly the same number of jobs.
“When we do consider incentives, we make sure we get a return on that investment,” Weinbrecht said. “The return on this one is huge.”
HCL America got its start in 1989, and in the beginning it did simple programming and other basic work. The division now has more than 8,000 employees who have helped generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue while providing sophisticated design, research and other services to its customers.
The latest expansion builds on momentum created by the economic downturn, HCL executives said. While operating under a business philosophy of putting employees first, Sodhi said the company grew by 22 percent during the height of the recession.
“When the business climate is tough, people are actually looking for change that they normally hesitate to go through,” Duvvoori said. “So that’s been a good advantage for us because we focus on how technology can support business change.”
Staff writer David Bracken contributed.